FINAL: Bathurst 4, Saint John 3 (SO)
By: Lorne Webster | SN Staff
SAINT JOHN - After losing four consecutive games, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (9-19-1-1) travelled to Harbour Station on Sunday to face the Saint John Sea Dogs (16-6-1-4). The hard working Titan, aided by eight power plays, were able to defeat the Sea Dogs 4-3 in a shootout to end their recent losing streak.
Egor Popov, Alexandre Gosselin and Andrew Ryan scored for Bathurst while Jakub Zboril and Spencer Smallman - with two goals - replied for Saint John. The extra time point allowed Saint John to continue their season long streak of earning at least one point in every game at Harbour Station as well as maintain a two-point lead over Moncton at the top of the Maritimes Division.
The referees dominated the first period by handing out a dozen penalties. At 6:31, Popov scooped up a turnover at the Titan blue line, broke away all alone and beat Sebastien Auger with a lovely deke to open the scoring. On a two-man advantage at 10:58, Gosselin ripped a wrist shot from the high slot over Auger's shoulder to extend the Titan's lead. Then, on a power play at 14:37, Zboril's laser beam found the top corner over Jacob Brennan's glove to close the gap to one. Bathurst led 7-6 on the shot clock and the period ended with the Titan up 2-1.
Just a minute into the second period, while skating 4-on-4, Smallman one-timed a cross ice feed from Luke Green to tie the game. After that, neither team allowed the other much room to roam. The period ended tied at 2-2 and the shots on goal were 10-8 for the Titan.
At 2:05 of the third, Smallman deflected a backdoor pass from Adam Marsh past Brennan to give the Sea Dogs their first lead of the night. However, just under two minutes later, Ryan corralled the rebound of a Mark Simpson slap shot and slide the puck behind a fallen Auger to tie the game at 3-3. Saint John killed off three straight penalties late in the third to lead to overtime. Shots favoured Bathurst 10-8 in the third and the Titan ended regulation outshooting the Sea Dogs 27-22.
Neither team was able to capitalize on their limited chances to score in the five-minute overtime period. In the fifth round of the shootout, Ryan rifled a wrist shot off the post and past Auger to record the only goal in extra time and lead the Titan to the victory.